Mexico Loses to Sweden 2-1 in Final Friendly Before 2022 World Cup

Sweden had just two shots on target to Mexico's seven

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Well, that’s not how Mexico would’ve wanted to enter the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Just days before the Mexico men’s national team begins Group C play in Qatar against Poland on Tuesday, Nov. 22, it lost to Sweden 2-1 in an international friendly on Wednesday.

Played at the Estadi Montilivi in Spain, Tata Martino’s Mexico squad bound for the World Cup took on a Sweden side that isn’t participating in the quadrennial tournament and didn’t have its marquee players in the starting XI or on the bench. 

After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, it was Sweden that eventually broke the deadlock in the 54th minute.

Left midfielder Mattias Svanberg delivered a low cross from the left flank that skipped past several Mexican defenders, including Swedish striker Viktor Gyökeres, before ultimately finding the unmarked right midfielder Marcus Rohdén for a tap-in finish past Guillermo Ochoa. 

Mexico didn’t long to equalize, however. 

A thumping left-footed threaded pass from Héctor Herrera broke the Swedish backline as left winger Alexis Vega slipped through on goal. One-on-one with the goalkeeper Bo Nordfeldt, Vega coolly finished to level it at 1-1 in the 60th minute. 

Despite controlling the ball for most of the game, Mexico just couldn’t generate any quality shots. It ended up costing El Tri, as Sweden found the game-winner in the 84th minute.

This time Svanberg penned himself onto the score sheet, as he picked up a loose ball off a corner kick and slotted it past Ochoa into the right corner. 

Mexico won the possession battle 65% to 35% and logged more shots (13, seven on target) than Sweden (seven, two on target), but the Blågult proved to be more clinical with their opportunities in front of goal. 

According to Opta, Sweden generated more expected goals than Mexico – 1.3 to 0.7 – so El Tri lost the game in that department, too, which is not what Martino will want heading into Qatar. After beating Iraq 4-0 on Nov. 9, the display against Sweden fell on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

Mexico is in Group C and will face, in order, Poland, Argentina and Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22, Nov. 26 and Nov. 30.

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